Full Version     |     Sign Up     |     Login

Browse   |   Reviews   |   Pop   Blogs   Forum
Community   |   Promoted   |   Followed   |   Staff

TheKodu's blog

Of Minecraft and Money
4:27 PM on 07.01.2014
XBLIG review: Battle for Demon City
1:55 PM on 06.02.2014
Socially Justifying Wankers [Warning, Strong language rant]
10:37 PM on 05.23.2014
You will sit there, you will be offended and you will deal with it.[Strong Lang]
11:47 PM on 05.21.2014
Review of Dinner Date : A pretentious game about being a pretentious prick
8:05 AM on 05.18.2014
New gaming device that could improve your skills, or fry your brain
8:29 PM on 05.15.2014

Previous   |   Home

Home   |   Browse   |   Reviews   |   Popular

Full Version     |     Sign Up     |     Login

Community Discussion: Blog by TheKodu | TheKodu's ProfileDestructoid
TheKodu's Profile - Destructoid


click to hide banner header
A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )

4:27 PM on 07.01.2014

Ok so rather than writing my mandatory and highly controversial E3 blog (which is late) Iíve decided to post this one about the latest nontroversey to erupt in gaming.

Mojang have finally decided to crack down on people monetising Minecraft with a set of rule for server. No this is not Mojang banning lets plays, let me get that clear and out there to begin with.

Iíve played Minecraft on a number of servers and honestly I can see where Mojang is coming from. There have been plenty of servers I tried only to immediately leave because of the monetisation methods used.

Now I entirely get that monetisation is used by people to support the servers as servers cost money. However as getting people to cough up an upkeep when they already bought a paid for game is a problem and some servers have just gone too far.

Minecraft servers can range from very ethical Valve level to Korean MMO level of pay to win. Some servers have tip jars, others give aesthetics to peopleís names or use other mods to allow different options like custom capes (capes now actually being against EULA but hey ho you can still charge for hats) . Then there are the servers people hate the servers like one I once spent 30 minutes on that charged you $20 for the ability to mine diamonds. Thatís right there are servers out there that wonít let you mine the most durable material in minecraft unless you pay. Iíve seen servers run a popular mod called MCMMO (which adds MMO levelling and ability elements to Minecraft ) then charge people $15 to unlock the function to use MCMMO abilities. †Some servers have their own currency and then offer the chance to charge to top up the currency.

Mojang are not being the devil here. Theyíre bringing law to the wild west they created. A wild west thatís often as wild and unethical as the android or IOS marketplace.

Now the issue of the wild west shouldnít be placed entirely on Mojang or even server operators as honestly itís the same issue that everyone has no doubt seen again and again. The electronic babysitter problem. Rather than monitor their children or pay attention parents are just using Minecraft as a babysitter and even more shockingly when little Timmy asks to borrow his parents credit card they arenít asking why (Assuming little Timmy did ask and not take it). According to Notch "I don't even know how many emails we've gotten from parents, asking for their hundred dollars back their kid spent on an item pack on a server we have no control over."

The new EULA actually differs from the original line which said no monetisation was allowed, the latest potential change being the suggestion Mojang might enforce said EULA now and bring law to their own personal wild west and also to entirely protect themselves against any potential action and trouble they could face due to action of servers operating without their knowledge or consent.

For those interested the Actual EULA for Minecraft can be found here which details the what can and can't be done.

It boils down to

Pay to access the server = fine
Accept donation = fine†
You are allowed to have in server ads / adspace or sponsorship
You can sell in game cosmetics items that do not impact gameplay (but no cloaks).
You cannot have a currency exchange system where you can turn real world money into fun money.
Any monetisation must make clear to the player who they are paying and that it is not going to Mojang.

So how long do you give it before another issue of the electronic babysitter comes up in the media now ?
Photo Photo

Name: Battle for Demon City

Cost: £0.69 / $1

Review bit: Itís very rare for me to actively dread doing a review. You see thereís part of this reviewer lark I like: promoting really good games and slamming shamelessly bad ones, I get to play all kinds. The problem is when I have to do one of these reviews.

Manuel Cota, a name not many will likely be familiar with. I have to say heís the one individual who has approached me most to get reviews in my time writing these reviews. Initially I reviewed Merball tournament, which I slated a bit because of issue in the game. Then there was Snowy Slalom which managed a middle of the road review from me. So when I opened my email and found another request in there I had the feeling Iíd be doing one of these reviews again. Another review with the words ďThereís a lot of potential but.....Ē

Now Iím going to vary up this format by showing you the games trailer first because then it lets me talk more about specifics.

So now youíve watched the trailer, I can finally talk in depth.
The game is based on the old ideology of games from the late PS1 and Budget titles on the PS2. The randomly generated maze game. You find the keys, you open the gates and your aim is to kill the enemies along the way to the goal.

Initially I did look at this game and overlooked it passing it off as another boobs game by some-one wanting to make something like Team Shuriken. Then I checked my email and found out this was a game by Manuel Cota whoís 3D models have seemingly taken a big leap forward and who Iíd say Iím still slightly concerned has been spending too much time round Team Shuriken or their products.

Ok so to discuss the game. The 3D models are pretty good almost falling into the uncanny valley level, which means the anime style is doing pretty damn well in this game and working with the model quality. The random generation is quite a nice feature to see return in gaming.

The enemies provide a good variety with each having slightly different characteristics as well as their look. Infact at one point there as joke about the enemies repeating and honestly the joke fell a bit flat as this game still managed more enemy variety than Call of Duty (Yeh I said it and you know itís true). As a joke it did fall flat because it was clear the developer had tried and this wasnít some simple case of a lazy developer. The ideas are solid the music is well the music is there and I didnít end up muting it which mean it wasnít bad.

The game is 6 levels long and has 5 enemy types, each that actually acts slightly differently. That's a lot of enemy variety

The gameplay is enjoyable and pretty good. Infact Iíd give special credit to the enemy AI / programming because if you move too far away from the demons they can warp, but not in the conventional sense. The enemies melt into the floor and rise back up out of it and unlike say CastleMiner Z they are programmed not to spawn directly on / under you. The melting into the floor really does help push the idea these enemies are Demons.

Ok I canít hold it back any longer, I have to talk about the issue this game has because in this game thereís a lot of potential but.... The buts in this case are unfortunately multiple.

But the textures are mostly horrible, †now the street / floor I can forgive but the buildings oh the buildings. I get the developer didnít want it obvious when you seem the buildings repeat however with the terrible low quality textures just stood out so badly it undermined the effort that had been put into making the models something other than †large cubes. †It really is painful when each building has spaces dip in and individual blacked out windows with a hint of something happening behind them. The worst part of this is the ending scene of the game has better textures on the walls than the rest of the buildings in the entire game.

Is that a building wall or an 80s special effect to represent Virtual reality distortion ?

But the gameplay doesnít quite make it there. †By this I mean the polish isnít quite there with the mazes. Iím going to have a guess and suggest this is related to the coding for the maze generation but itís not the old red key for the red door. In each level you get through subsequent gates by collecting more keys, not specific keys but more keys. The problem with this is it begs the question of why ? The game should either have had a red key for the red gate system or should have subtracted a key when you opened a gate meaning there was some sort of reason to have to collect more of the generic keys.

But the game doesnít explain the story that well. The city has been taken by an army of demons! You are its only hope, as all other law enforcing units, even from nearby regions, were neutralized during the attack while you were out of town, attending a disciplinary hearing. Thatís the initial story and you know how much of that is actually really explained in the games opening ? The city is over-run get to the police station, thatís it, nothing about the disciplinary hearing, nothing about it being demons really. The story does start to sort itself out further down the line but initially it struggles to find itís feet.

But some of the animations have problems. Most of them are fine, the talking and facial animations work great but then you have your character walking. Honestly Iím not sure where the issue really is but the walking just feels so off. In cutscenes it seems floaty and youíll sometimes see your character taking large strides on the spot as though the animation and the actual amount the character moves arenít in any way linked. His problem then extends into the normal gameplay with the floaty feel continuing and the walking almost looking less like a person walking and more like someone kicking their heels up deliberately as they walk.

But the gameplay has issues. This initially seems like a small complaint but as a reviewer and as I will deliberately do the kind of dumb things any player could do or even some things most players wouldnít do just to test the games reaction. I decided to go into the final level without buying shotgun ammo. I didnít know how long the game was and as such thought Iíd save money for a potential third weapon. Part way through the level I ran out and found out one of the newly introduced enemies could only be killed with realistically with shotgun rounds. I tried the pistol and the small amount of damage done meant that Iíd have been using maybe 50 shots per single of of these enemies. Add to that there are no random caches of ammo etc on the map and the only way other than buying ammo is to get it from drops from dead enemies and well you might see how badly I was screwed here.

Continuing the gameplay issues is the sensitivity. The game has a maximum sensitivity of 24, I played on 18 and that was when I actually discovered the sensitivity on level 4. The game doesnít tell you this and has the sensitivity on a very low 8 which initially, until I found the slider, I thought was deliberate and trying to replicate the slow turning and clunky tank controls of many old survival horror games.

The next gameplay issue is that itís possible to get swarmed, now this is partly my own fault for playing the game badly but can also be a real issue as you can take multiple hits in quick succession which drain most of your health before the anti swarming mechanic kicks in. The anti swarming mechanics happens when a demon grabs you and lifts you up, at this point all the other demons temporarily vanish and you end up in a quicktime event. During the quicktime event to †avoid being throttled you hammer the B button to shoot the demon in the head, this instant kills them dropping you back to a clear area where the demons begin to spawn back in from scratch round you.

The final gameplay issue is it doesnít teach you enough really. †For example until level 6 I didnít know if you holstered your weapon you moved faster, because I immediately drew my gun at the start of the game and never holstered it. The game also doesnít tell you that the shotgun doesnít have a spread to its shots, the shotgun is just a straight up damage upgrade over the pistol bar the need to reload more often.

Ok time for the last one.

But the cutscene dialogue sound effect just drilled into my skull. The sound effect sounds like an angry colony of insects their mandibles all clicking together. Now I have thought about this and to an extent it could have worked. The way it could have worked would have been one sound effect for humans talking and another for demons adding to the feel of otherworldly demons being about. However having every character sound like this caused the sound effect to seem almost lazy and out of place.

Now Iíve slated the game quite a bit but itís only fair to say what the game does right but I wouldnít normally mention as it only does these things adequately and not much more. The game balance is ok with more loot seemingly dropping on the harder later levels to balance out the difficulty. The progression system is nice with the game introducing a new enemy mostly at the end of the stage as a boss of kinds then that enemy adding to the ranks in the next level. The new enemy as a boss works because of the different health amount of attack methods each use requiring you to quickly adapt when a new one is brought in. The game introduces the new enemies quick enough to prevent the enemies becoming stale. The upgrade system is fairly balanced and youíll find you can easily afford the required upgrades without too much hassle. The music isnít bad. The cutscenes work later on.

Ok I wish Manuel Cota all the best of luck in whatever future project he makes. Reading his email honestly made me feel like he felt this was going to be his big crowning achievement, it also made me feel really nervous going into this game as I was worried about how bad this game would be. I have to say itís not bad, however itís most likely not the big crowning achievement either. The game is solid enough for it's cost and down under all the issues there is something great waiting to be found. The problem of course being the amount of issues.

It has to be said Battle for Demon City is a more solidly playable game than Snowy Slalom and a slightly more enjoyable one however for all the improvements itís counter balanced by its own issues. It should be said that this is a one man development team making this third person game, now I know there are plenty of those but I should specify here. This is a game by one man and one man alone, no outsourcing, no others, no hired artists musicians or coders this was by a single person in its entirety. For one person doing everything itís very much back to how gaming began and doing it in a 3D game is a pretty huge task to do it all solo.

Honestly if this is the start of a series I might keep an eye out for the sequel to see if itís improved but I really do have to ask if Manuel Cotaís true calling isnít in another capacity. Not as a solo developer doing everything alone but as part of a team most likely doing the 3D modelling and facial animation as those are by far the stand out parts along of course with the coding for the maze generation. If there are any development teams reading this then Iíd strongly suggest you consider Manuel Cota as itís fairly clear heís capable of doing good work just not managing to do it all solo.

It should also be said that with the previous two games and possibly still this one too Manuel Cota actually modelled the characters using excel....... yes excel that thing people normally use for spreadsheets and that I can barely draw workable graphs in. I have to applaud Manuel Cota because Iíve tried 3D modelling and it is hard even in CAD or Blender and I have tried making music and that too is a tough task so to do those things and program and make a full game is pretty amazing especially without the same level of tools youíd find in most game studio (even indie ones) .

So would I recommend Battle for Demon City ? No I wouldnít it manages justify its price tag but it doesnít go much beyond that to cause it to be a must have title. It does hold some interest for those who want to experience a little bit of gamingís past and try a maze game but thatís not enough for a recommendation.†


3 out of 6
Photo Photo Photo

This blog seemingly fits so well as a follow up to my last one as you could say it's the otherside of the coin now.

So itís finally happened. Iíve finally hit the point where I get why people keep brushing off any kind of Social justice advocate and why the term Social justice Warrior has been pegged as a bad thing.

Now mostly Iím of the mind that maybe there are legitimate issues people have and if they can realistically express the issue in such a way and allow people to understand the source of the issue then fine. †But recently Iíve seemingly run into a patch where all Iím hearing is ďYou shouldnít play game X because by supporting that company you support Y ismĒ No further elaboration on the Y-ist features or when theyíre brought up an explanation of how thatís Y-ist just a ďYou canít see that ?!Ē

Now Iíve been pretty vocal about certain things and letís get the obvious issues out the way quickly and I can maybe write a full blog on them later if it kicks up a huge fuss them just being mentioned here.

Samus wearing high heels makes no sense unless Nintendo can give a real reason.

GTA V should add more clothing options for women and yes I have met female gamers who play it and with a certain culture of girls gaming is becoming more popular.

The chainmail bikini has a place in gaming right next to the fur loin cloth.

Dead or Alive needs to stop treating itís female characters as dress up dolls (you know the DLC I mean) but deserves far more credit for the characterisation.

Ok now that weíve got that out of the way itís time for me to start the meat of the topic. Iím starting to get entirely fed up with being told not to play certain games or use certain web browsers or go on certain websites because people have taken objection to it and are offended by it. If something offends you then stop and ask yourself if it was intended as offensive or not. As such Iíve decided to pull up the two examples recently that honestly made me want to say ďIím tired. Iím tired of all this, I really am and maybe gaming isnít for me and I need to take a break as itís not fun anymore.Ē Now Iím no longer in that place because I decided to go and yell at idiots in the game Defiance for a little bit to pass some of the mental bile out of my system.

The first example is one of those where itís not as clear cut but really did just make me question if people are just being offended for the sake of it or being far too sensitive and need to deal with their own issues.

My Ex Boyfriend the Space Tyrant is homophobic.......................................

I looked at the demo for this game a while back as a Greenlight oddity and as such Iíve kept an eye on the project.

In short †My Ex Boyfriend the Space Tyrant is a point and click gay adventure game. No thatís honestly how itís described. The game was made by a developer with a serious investment in equality and promoting the LGBT scene and allowing greater diversity in gaming without stepping into the ďAll games must appeal to everyoneĒ minefield. The idea was a game aimed at gay male gamers. Now while I canít confirm this I do believe the developer himself is gay.

The game is meant to be a gay parody of games like the Leisure Suit Larry games. A send up taken rather to the extremes in a deliberately, comic, over exaggerated way.

So luckily this campaign hasnít gained much traction besides plenty of mentions in the greelight comments. The claim is the deliberately exaggerated depiction of the characters in the game is portraying the LGBT community in a negative light and is such pushing an anti gay message by furthering stereotypes. This despite the fact the game is obviously a deliberate parody aimed at ridiculing those same stereotypes and Iím sure anyone with enough brain cells to rub together can see this is a send up of the old Leisure Suit Larry games with a twist to it.

Next is honestly a campaign thatís gained far more traction and drained my spirit so much that it caused me to utter to myself the phrase about leaving gaming.

The Secret World is Sexist against women...........

Now Iíve had a fair bit of experience with the secret world and did enjoy my time and will go back at some point in the future. This issue began to start to show up while I was playing. The complaint started when someone in general chat raised an objection and it has spread throughout the blogosphere. The main argument boiling down to people claiming the game was sexist due to the female templar outfit ďHaving a little flick near the end and looking more like a mini-skirt designed to sexualise all female character modelsĒ

Here is a comparison of the male and female templar main outfits.

Canít see the argument ?
Here let me zoom it in a bit.

The argument is over maybe an inch of material difference in the male and female jackets. Thatís it. That is why people began to decry the game as sexist. †Iím not even sure how you can respond to that other than a quote from a female player I ran into on the game. ďYou know what, I like the Secret world because it allows you choice, you can dress your character up slutty or modestly and that goes for male and female characters. Itís not an MMO ruled by the chainmail bikini.Ē

Until now I really havenít got truly angry at the Social justice warrior culture because mostly their points did have a reason but now it just seems to be a giant contest to one up one another to show who is the most dedicated to supreme equality at any cost with any consequence. †I get it equality = good but the way condemnation is flying round madly is really starting drain the joy out of what was meant to be a fun hobby. Being shamed for playing a game I enjoy because itís become the latest target of the SJW brigade is really starting to grind on me. †Iíve asked the question before ďWhat the hell is wrong with a male power fantasy ?Ē I broke it down and pointed out that youíre either objecting to it being male which is inherently sexist or it being a fantasy which is kind of the underlying point of gaming.

Iím actively starting to get annoyed at hearing on forums and messages boards ďOh you play that game, you know by doing it youíre supporting X-ism, well done for aiding in oppression.Ē †Canít I just do something for fun now ? I mean for fucks sakes Iím playing Dawngate but that doesnít mean I support all of EAís business practices. †

Can we please just take a look at whatís happening and accept people playing a game is not support of a ideology or political agenda. I get that people play Candy Crush Saga and while I object to King.com I also get most people playing it are doing so for fun without knowing about all the underhand dealings etc. Also thereís the difference King.com have shown deliberate intent in their actions while most other companies and games are having intent read into them by people. Everything seemingly now has to have an agenda to and canít just be a fun thing that exists or an artistís vision promoting oppression yet the times people have talked to the artist the truth has come out such as with Dragonís Crown.

Can we stop the present culture where I can be shamed for liking a certain game because other people have read meaning into it and because the meaning they read into it is the game promotes oppression. Sure express your opinion but donít then start shaming those who play it. To others reading this to I say just because some-one is bringing up equality doesnít mean they donít have to have an argument to prove this. †Surely I can be trusted to play the game and should be allowed to make my own mind up as to if your argument holds weight rather than being shamed because I find the argument flawed and nonsensical. Did Rockstar really set out to Oppress Women ? Do you really believe any company would ? Is it some great conspiracy of the Patriarchy at work ? Or is it one persons interpretation being applied as fact here ?

Claiming equality doesnít automatically make the actions right and justified. As an example of this Iíd like to point out that on the Todachi Life outcry and the fact exactly one person in the media mentioned and condemned those who were sending death threats to the developers. Most outlets ignored this piece of information or glossed over it. Believe it or not Yahtzee was the only one Iíve actually seen condemn the death threats and not simply ignore them. Just because youíre doing it under the veil of equality doesnít make you any less of a wanker for threatening someone's life.

Can we please stop rallying to any cause that claims to be doing good without first questioning if it really is. The claim of equality doesnít make an argument right or true it just gives a reason to have the argument to begin with. Iím a fat white male and you know what, Iím not offended by the existence of the Wii-fit trainer I donít see it as some great political statement at all. So can we all please stop claiming people idiots and Wankers are right just because they claim Social Justice in the argument ? By all means if you have an issue raise it, just let me make up my own mind and not assume because you claim to be fighting for inclusivity that I must back your view.

So as a conclusion.

Can I please be free to make up my own mind on a matter †and not be shamed for wanting to play the game I bought, that would be just great, thanks.

Just to point this out this all came about because recently someone said to me "Oh GTA V you shouldn't play that or you're sexist because Rockstar haven't added more clothing options for Women in the latest update" along with people also telling me how bad it was I played : Defiance, The Secret World and Mass Effect.

Photo Photo Photo

So having campaigned to have a game removed from the Xbox live inde game marketplace whoíd have thought Iíd be back here on Destructoid defending a game that people are trying to remove from the Xbox marketplace.

The game in question is Mount your friends. A game I check out a while ago and is pretty much designed initially to shine a light on XBLIG and then hold a mirror up to ridicule certain trends there. Mainly the trend of games selling on oversexualised cover art and marketing. The twist Mount Your Friends did was to have this as itís box art.

So with the Steam edition approaching and with me trying to keep my figure in the indie game community I ran into this thread†and this thread on the Xbox forums report abuse section. I then promptly weighed in and yet itís seemingly not got the point across and Iím sure out there in the world wide web there are plenty of people just waiting to feel this game is offensive to their sensibilities.

The main crux of the argument against the sale of Mount your Friends, at least on the Xbox forum can be summed up pretty much as follows ďI donít want this game on sale incase kids catch the gay from it.Ē No I really am not joking, in 2014 when gay marriage is finally becoming legal in the western world allegedly grown adults are arguing for a games removal because they believe the game will turn children gay....................... Iím sorry but fuck you....................Seriously fuck you. I now have a better understanding of why social justice warriors seem to jump on every little thing. The reason is people like those objecting to the sale of mount your friends. That said sometimes social justice warriors really do object to insane things and go way too far, but thatís another blog for another day. †

So you know what I have to actually say to those objecting to the sale of mount your friends and those who will no doubt object when it comes out on steam ? You donít turn someone gay, people are gay or straight or bi and thatís not going to be changed by a game. Iím a straight male gamer and Iím defending a game with penis physics I have no issue with the game. The issue is yours! You will sit there, you will be offended and you will have to deal with it. Iím seriously starting to get fed up of the culture of people feeling offended constantly at everything and trying to force their changes. †Yes sometimes there are changes for the better than can be made to allow for more inclusivity and I welcome these and views expressing these. However just because whatever insane world view you hold is causing you to be offended and rally for a games removal from the same service selling these games which seemingly very few also find offensive.

The industry shouldnít bend to your will and try to make sure youíre not offended. Games will seemingly always offend some-one because you canít cater to everyoneís world view. Hardcore Catholics would be offended at any game with pre-marital sex in it for example.
By all means be offended, but just before you call for game to be changed or removed because ďThink of the childrenĒ or some other complete bullshit maybe look at yourself for a minute and ask why youíre being offended by it. Then ask the all important question ďam I just a huge prick with an issue I need to resolve myself and trying to pass the blame ?Ē

The only reason for a game to be removed is if it's actively deceptive, harmful or downright broken not because you don't like it!
Photo Photo Photo

Name: Dinner Date

Cost: £1.99 / $2.99

Format: PC / windows

Review bit:

Now gaming is meant to be about playing roles and getting to try and see the world from another perspective. The great thing as many will say about gaming is you donít have one life, you have many. Unfortunately in the case of Dinner Date you donít play a role as such, you play as the subconscious of pretentious prick Julian Luxemburg.

So Julian Luxemburg: motorcycle rider, poet, lover of Italian food, †smoker, quoter of Shakespeare and Byron, wine drinker, moderately skilled chef, wearer of strange jackets.

Me: Cider drinker who has only ever drunk wine once and due to various reasons canít again; rider of the bus, can cook just about, only enjoys the poetry of John Cooper Clarke and also the poem Batman Big shot by Simon Armitage; finds Shakespeare to be mostly pretty dull bar Baz Lurhmanís ďRomeo and JulietĒ and Sonet 130 for the deconstruction of the over exaggeration present in most of the popular romance Poems. †Qualified scientist, coeliac sufferer, writer of poorly written internet reviews.

Now initially I went into this game hoping for something different hoping that this could be some deep artistic game about the inner troubles of a human being. I didnít go into this expecting bad things . However if you look at the above information you might realise there are quite a few differences between me and Julian Luxemburg the main character of Dinner Date. True were both pretentious pricks, me for writing these reviews and ripping into game which are after all a form of art, and Julian a new romantic motorcycle riding poet Also thereís only two years separating me and the main character in age. Honestly I donít know if Julian was ripped from the pages of some trashy romance novel or simply is the character Withnail whoís fallen right out of the film Withnail and I.

According to the developers website ďJulian has purchased a bottle of Otra Vida, an Argentinian Merlot. It is a refreshing pleasurable wine, offering a moment away from the stresses of daily life and work. Stout Games recommends drinking it while playing Dinner Date. An attendant at your local off-license may help you further.Ē Thatís right the developer recommends you drink while playing this game. I did because I had too. I was on the 29% toffee Vodka and boy did I need something stronger because even with that I got annoyed at this game.

So you might notice I havenít talked about the gameplay yet. Thatís because really there is none. You have little to no agency over gameplay. You donít play Julian Luxemburg you play his subconscious. What controlling Julian Luxemburg subconscious means is rather than begin able to have any real control you get decide where to look. Most of the time Julian Luxemburg just rambles on about his life and his worries and woes while you get to decide to look at the clock, tab his hands on the desk, stir his soup or eat some. The game outright tells you that you cannot influence Julian Luxemburgís decision and as such at certain points you donít even get to control what to subconsciously do as the game only gives you the option to drink wine. The extend of control you have is you can: Choose where to look, drink wine, stir or eat soup, Eat bread or dip it in the soup and of course put stuff down. You canít really actively move the character round as this is done entirely on its own.

There's your gameplay, pick a button, any button they all lead to the same thing really.

So this is an experimental game set to examine the worries and issues of a 20 something whoís potentially being stood up. It sounds like a good idea until the worries start to be revealed. So what are the worries you ask ? ďWill I be alone foreverĒ which kind of holds up to an extent, that is until the main character starts whining about how riding a motorcycle and poetry never seem to help him meet women. Oh cry me a freaking river thatís like hearing a soulful guitar player using that to pull complain how he doesnít get enough attention from women. Next is the characters musings over his potential date and how she just doesnít seem to actually have much in common, as itís revealed sheís Japanese, 20 years old and into clubbing and possible trance / techno music. †It seems slightly strange but hey opposites attract and all, that is until you start to realise that while Julian Luxemburg doesnít really know, it seems mostly all heís interested in from his date is a shag. The moping tone just doesnít seem to make sense when really all heís after is simple uncomplicated sex, if this was him thinking heíd found someone to love or there was a deeper connection then maybe it would work but mostly it seems like a guy throwing a strop because heís not going to get his shot at getting laid. Iím sorry I donít feel sorry for a guy whoís meant to be on his first real date with a girl whoís now upset he wonít be getting laid, news flash even if sheíd turned up then expecting the night to end in sex was really a stupid expectation to hold or for that to be the goal. Oh listen to me sounding like guys care about more than just sex and might want to get to know someone.

Ok so being stood up and his single life concerns are one of the issue. The other main issue surrounds his work in an office and colleagues. Julian Luxemburg doesnít like his work, he feels underappreciated by his boss and like heís doing all the work while his colleagues †slack off and play with their Iphones. It sounds like it has potential right ? Well thatís about it, his boss isnít actively nasty to him really. His colleagues arenít actively bad towards him. Then to add to this heís been headhunted to join a better firm with a better reputation a better salary and moving house to a better place to live. Then heís on about his friend who honestly I canít see the issue here as he says they keep getting him to come out with him and pushing him to talk to girls and set up this date. Wow what a tragedy, you have friends who invite you out regularly and try to set you up quite often. †The issue Julian Luxemburg complains about in Dinner Date seem honestly so trivial and while I guess you could say this would authentically be what someone being stood up might think of, well it seem all too poor me. Seriously if Julian Luxemburg had been talking about how his previous relationship fell apart and left him feeling damaged Iíd have said maybe. If there were some kind of real dilemmas or concerns going on them Iíd have given some credit bit no, Julian Luxemburg isnít dieing, he isnít in debt, he isnít a broken human being heís honestly a stroppy pretentious prick.

Who wears †a brown (possible smocking) jacket to a date at your own home ? This isnít even some black suit jacket thing itís a brown professor style / smoking jacket.

So weíve talked about the story, Iíve pointed out the ďgameplayĒ which only allows you to press single buttons and choose where to look, not move but look. So whatís to look at now ? Well itís a PC title so I should discuss the graphics I guess. On my very low end machine ( a Dual core AMD with 2.7GHZ of power with 4 gb of ram and an †ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530 Series graphics card) the game ran on the graphics setting ďExorbitantĒ and had AA running full without any framerate issues. Now the game doesnít look great really like a mix of a cell shaded game and a better N64 game / Dreamcast game. Thereís not a lot of graphics settings other than the resolution , AA, V sync and of course the overall graphics level, no options to change the lighting or shadow which is a little annoying (especially considering there are the things most people on lower end machines have issues with). Also while being fairly well optimised the game isnít very stable as when closing the game itís crashed on me twice, once of which required me to end it via task manager.

† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †
A pretentious game about being a mopey pretentious prick with no player agency and a story which automatically plays out pretty much on its own. Itís about 30 minutes of story and sitting listening. In reality chances are you reading this have more issues and more serious life issues than the main character in this game. This is not some life altering game or an exploration of the human condition itís a tale of a mopey guy moaning that heís not getting laid tonight with a girl he barely knows.

If this game were designed as a parody of art games themselves it would be spot on. That is this games curse, itís honestly not. At no point does the game reveal itself as a send up of art games and infact is trying to fit into a genre many see as a joke. This game to be honest is the same level of joke one where people are laughing at it unintentionally because it really does think itís being serious.

This is a title with no real gameplay and no player agency which turns out to be a dull and tedious experience with very little reason to play it. The game even points out why doesnít the main character simply phone the girl or something, but no rather than doing almost anything with the evening he sits eats the meal heís made and rants at no-one while getting gradually drunker. Itís like the developer have never heard of blogs, tumblr or twitter as places people can legitimately rant with others people at least present. †Instead all that's left is a dull 30 minute monologue with little true interactivity in this supposedly interactive medium.†


1 out of 6
Photo Photo Photo

So I must be really out of touch with gaming or at last pro gaming, if it is pro gaming then after I basically slated MLG culture then itís no surprise.

However recently I heard about a new product hitting the market causing a buzz with its claims to improve your attention †span and reflexes while gaming. The device itself is an electro shock helmet essentially which in theory using electrodes will strategically electro shock and stimulate specific areas of your brain. In stimulating areas of your brain the scientific theory is that the neurotransmission speed in that area will increase and as such you will see improvement in mental abilities. †Note Iíve kept saying in theory.

There is present research suggesting that the process of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation as itís called could be of use for various treatment and medical applications. This is in a lab setting under highly controlled conditions with professionals positioning the electrodes accurately on the the skull. †At present the research in labs has been mostly focused upon treating conditions and aiding recovery of sufferers of depression, stroke victims.

Itís been noted by studies however that potential side effects could include permanent changes in neurological processes in the long term which isnít fully understood yet. In terms of short term side effects after a 20 minute session papers on the subject give these slightly worrying pieces of data: †17% of those undertaking stimulation found it actively unpleasant; †27% reporting †a burning sensation where the electrodes were positioned; 7% has a migraine once the device was turned off; 22.6% experienced feelings of fatigue and exhaustion after the device was turned off. In fact worryingly itís been suggested that such electrical stimulation could even be capable of causing seizures or in rare cases temporary psychosis.

. † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † ^This is the retail device being aimed at gamers†

Now it should also be pointed out that these experiments were done under lab conditions with professionals placing the electrodes. All the experiments only had the procedure done for 20 minutes under these lab trials. This device is not the same quality of equipment used in the lab! You are not a trained professional ! The electrodes are fixed and as such wonít be as accurately placed as in the medical versions being tested. This device isnít designed to cut off after a 20 minute session. So whatís being sold to gamers now is essentially close to a medical grade device based on research that is still very much in the early testing phases. The device gets round present medical requirements by not claiming to treat any medical conditions and only claiming to boost gaming ability. Thatís right because itís aimed at boosting gaming performance the device has managed to avoid any real safety testing by the likes of the FDA.†

So for just $249 (£179 in the UK) in July you to can own a device that could boost your gaming ability or of course fry your brain while trying. Just when I thought Mountain Dew was going to be the worst product for claiming to boost gaming ability.

So the question must be, how far will gamers go to try and gain even a minor advantage ? What cost is too much for some gamers to just get that win ?

And no, I'm not going to link to where you can buy the device if you're that obsessed with gaining and edge you can google it
Photo Photo